Why is my Pilea Dying?

Pilea Plant
Pilea Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Does your Pilea show dying signs? Your search for a solution completes here.

Pilea peperomioides, also known as the Chinese money plant, is a popular indoor plant. Its easy-growing nature and beautiful shiny leaves can catch any plant lover’s attention.

I have five pots of Pilea! Let me tell you, they are absolute keepers.

Generally, Pilea is forgiving plants and doesn’t mind a little neglect time and again. However, if it is prolonged, they will be under stress and start to show several symptoms, and if still not taken care of, they may even die.

Generally, some common reasons that a Pilea plant show signs of dying are: over or under watering, over-fertilizing, too much exposure to the sun, inappropriate plant location, diseases, and pest infection.

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Moreover, specific symptoms are produced by pilea to let its caretaker know when it feels neglected and wants care. For example, look after drooping leaves, drooping plant, leaves curling, white grains, rotting, etc.

hanging-pilea-on-white-pot
Pilea peperomioides (Source: Unsplash)

Feeling confused? Well, we will be talking more about the causes, symptoms, solutions, and preventive measures in this article. So, stay tuned to get detailed information on keeping your lovely plant alive.

Can I Save a Dying Pilea?

It is hard to imagine your beautiful friend dying, right? But to understand easily, let’s suppose your Pilea is dying.

So, can you save your Pilea once it starts showing symptoms of dying? The answer is an absolute Yes!!

However, Pilea wants intensive care until the plant revives. And care should start as soon as you notice the initial symptoms.

Delay in cure may trigger extreme stress causing Pilea to die permanently. So, always watch out for signs, and when the plant starts showing symptoms, start curing.

Moreover, preventive measures are always better than cures. Continue reading to find preventive measures to protect your plant from stress conditions.

Common Reasons your Pilea might be Dying

No plant lover wants their plants to die. But sometimes you may not pay attention due to a busy schedule, while sometimes over caring may also be the cause of its ill-health.

Understanding the nature of the plant and tending them accordingly is very important to keep plants healthy and growing.

Below are some common symptoms Pilea peperomioides show when they do not like the environment they live in. You should look after these symptoms carefully to notice and treat the problem before it’s too late.

Common symptoms of Dying Pilea

  • Yellowing and Falling Leaves
  • Droopy Leaves
  • Droopy Pilea
  • Brown Spots on leaves
  • Leaves Curling
  • White grains on Leaves
  • Root rotting
  • Pest infestation
  • Fungal Infection

1. Over-Watering

Overwatering of the Pilea plant is the most common cause for Pilea showing dying symptoms.

Overwatering can be a cause if you are watering the pilea when the soil is still wet; it may generally be the case in colder and humid seasons or if you are flooding the dirt every other day.

Moreover, overwatering causes problems like droopy and falling leaves or curled leaves.

Further, if you ignore the overwatering when the leaves are drooping, then the whole plant will wilt after some days.

Prolonged overwatering of the plant also causes the roots to rot and white grains on the lower portion of leaves.

As the root rotting is challenging to diagnose initially, it is generally detrimental to the plant.

Solution

  • Do not water the plant for some days and let the pot stay in the sun to remove excess water by evaporation.
  • Let the soil on top dry completely before you water the plant again.
  • Cut off the rotten part; this works mainly when the rotting is confined to an isolated part of the root.
  • If rotting has reached the stem, replant the pilea by removing the old with a cutting from the same or different plant.
  • Cut and remove the drooping and dying leaves.

Preventive Measures

  • Be considerate about the season while watering. Plants need more water during the dry season than in the humid season.
  • If you are deeply watering the plant, water once a week, and if irrigation is light, twice a week will be sufficient.
Watering the Plants
Watering the Plants (Source: Pexels.com)

Pro Tip: Make proper drainage holes in the pot. The planting container should have holes of 1-2 cm diameter and 2-5 in number ideally to provide a good drainage facility.

2. Under-Watering

Sometimes, you may be unconsciously neglecting your plant due to a busy schedule. If you are not watering your plant once or twice a week in the dry season, it may be feeling thirsty and stressed.

Underwatering may also cause your beloved Pilea to die. But pilea shows the following symptoms to let you know it is thirsty: the droopy and changed color of leaves, curling and falling leaves, and droopy plant.

Solutions

  • Pour a good amount of water to thoroughly soak the soil from top to bottom till the plant revives.
  • Mist the leaves of Pilea regularly.
  • Place the plant in the shady area if it is on a sunny site.

Preventive Measures

  • Watering according to the season and watching the soil condition is always a wise way of irrigating plants.
  • Sometimes the topsoil may be too compacted, hindering the movement of water downwards. So, loosening the soil by picking it with a small tool or a toothpick helps absorb water downward in the dirt.
  • Keep track of quantity and time of watering.

Quick Tip: Determine the time for watering by touching the soil, irrigate if the mud on the top 2-3″ is completely dry. Also, water the plant to make the dirt moist not wet.

You may want to read more about the correct way of watering the Pilea plant. Read an article on How often to water pilea

3. Improper Lighting

Pilea thrives in indirect but abundant light. Try placing it near a window to keep your plant happy.

Improper lighting conditions may cause several problems like curled leaves, brown leaf spots, and changed leaves color. Both too much direct sunlight and too little light are harmful.

Solutions

  • If the plant is placed where direct sunlight is abundant the whole day, try replacing the plant in a slight shade.
  • If the living area of Pilea is darker and the plant receives significantly less sunlight in a day, replace the plant in a less dark space.
  • You can also place the pilea plant in the sun for 3-4 hours daily.

Preventive Measures

  • Place the plant in a near south-facing window.
  • You can use a sheer curtain to filter the direct sunlight falling on the plant.
Sunlight Hitting the Leaves
Sunlight hitting the leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

4. Use of Excessive Fertilizer

Pilea is a very easy-growing plant. A small amount of feed during the actively growing season is sufficient for pilea to thrive.

However, if you are a plant lover and Pilea is your first project, you might be reluctant to overly love your plant.

Problems like leaf curling and brown spots may be the result of overfeeding the plant.

Solutions

  • Decrease the frequency of feeding your plant. Adding fertilizer at the time of repotting or during the active growing season is sufficient.
  • Apply a small amount of houseplant liquid fertilizer diluted in water whenever you are feeding pilea.
  • For fertilizer burn (or brown spot), you can pour some water on the soil; it will dilute the fertilizer on the dirt.

Preventive Measures

  • Add slow-release fertilizers like compost while repotting the plant.
  • Always dilute the liquid fertilizer to half its strength while feeding pilea.
  • Fertilize your plant once a month during the growing season.

You can buy liquid fertilizer for indoor plants from amazon.

5. Improper Temperature

Does your Pilea have brown spots on its leaves even after feeding it with fertilizer very rarely? It might be because of ill-managed temperature.

The brown leaf symptom is seen because of both high and low temperatures.

Solutions

  • Do not place the Pilea in direct sun. It causes sunburn (or brown spots).
  • Place the plant away from AC and single-pane window during the cold season.

Preventive Measures

  • Always place pilea in a shady area.
  • Change the location of the plant according to season to maintain the temperature of 15-30°C.

6. Fungal Diseases

Sometimes, pilea may be infected by several fungi causing ill health to your beloved plant. Such conditions are very harmful and sometimes detrimental to the pilea.

Name of DiseaseSymptoms
Southern blightStem of plant collapse due to rotting at the collar region.
Pythium root rotStunted and wilted plant with brown or black, mushy and rotten roots.
AnthracnoseWater- soaked bruise on leaves

Solutions

  • Reduce the humidity of the room.
  • Place the plant in a sunny place more often till the fungal infection goes away.
  • Clean the infected part with fungicides like Neem oil.
  • Place the infected plant away from other healthy plants.
  • Drench the soil with Fungicides for root infections.

Preventive Measures

  • Since infected plant parts are the primary source of fungal disease spread, always use disease-free materials for multiplication.
  • Do not wet the leaves regularly. It can enhance fungal infection.
  • Increase the space between the plants during humid seasons.

7. Pest Infestation

Generally, Pilea don’t home pests, but sometimes it might get infected. Bugs can only infest a plant if it is weak, so if your Pilea is suffering pest infestation, don’t forget to treat the plant’s health along with the pests.

Commonly, Pilea is infested by aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs, which show the symptoms of leaves curling.

Pest infestation in indoor plants is due to the entry of pests inside the home along with new plants.

InsectsSymptoms
AphidsPear-shaped, green insects.
Foliage looks crinkled or stunted.
Spider MitesLower side of leaves have spidery webs.
Mealy bugsWhite, cottony masses.
Plant wilts, discolor and curl.
Fungus gnatPlants will grow poorly and have foliage loss.

Solution

  • If infestation is low, proper plant care with some fertilizer and water will strengthen it to fight against infestation itself.
  • You can also manually remove the pest at the initial level by picking and wiping off the leaves.
  • Spray neem oil.
  • You can also use castile soap spray.

Preventative Measures

  • Always inspect the plant before you get it inside the home to place it with other plants.
  • Provide proper spacing between the plants to enhance air circulation.
  • Include some insect repellent plants like garlic, lavender, marigold, etc., along with other plants to reduce pest infestation.
  • Make sure the soil or potting mix is clean and free from pests before using.
  • Provide desirable growing conditions for plants like proper lighting, watering, humidity, etc.

Tips to Take Care of Pilea

After reading the whole article, it must be pretty understandable that the major problem causing factor in the Pilea plant is the improper water application followed by the wrong light.

Hence, maintaining the proper amount of water and light should be taken seriously if you want your plant to live a longer and healthy life.

pilea-plant
A healthy Pilea Plant (Source: Pexels)

Moreover, some tips to keep your Pilea plant happy are:

  • Keep them near a bright window inside (which is indirect light).
  • The soil should be allowed to dry out completely between waterings, with more watering required in warmer, brighter weather.
  • Rotate your Pilea at least once a week to maintain it in good shape and avoid it becoming asymmetrical.
  • These plants benefit from regular showers or at least wiping off of their foliage because their big leaves tend to collect dust.
  • Use a proper pot to plant the Pilea. However, the container’s material does not make much difference, but you should properly select the pot size.
  • Use smaller pot for small, establishing plant and replace with larger when the plant grows. Pots can be changed while repotting.
  • A large pot may cause soil to be wet for a long time as it can hold more water, but the plant is still small to use it.
  • The soil media used to plant the Pilea should be well aerated and full of slow-release fertilizer. Regular potting mix with added perlite works well.
  • You may multiply the pilea by using the tiny babies that soon grow on the side of the main plant. These babies can be planted in another pot or even left to get more bushy Pilea pot.
  • Even though Pilea does not need full sunlight to thrive, it tends to reach the sun. Hence, rotate the container regularly to gain a balanced growth.

Are any of your other houseplants dying? Don’t be worried; instead, read our articles on Reviving your dying Rubber plant, Polka Dot, Pothos, Azaleas and so on.

Conclusion

Pilea peperomioides are lovely plants. They are both easy to grow and aesthetically appealing.

Little care is all it needs to prevent it from dying and thriving for many years.

As stress is always bad for plants, keep your Pilea away from it. Instead, love your pilea a little, and it will give you a lot of beautiful leaves.

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